Ever since hamster balls first came out in the early 1970s, people have been fantasizing about what it would be like to cavort around in a magical orb. Fast-forward a few decades and this notion picked up some serious steam in 2001 when the motion picture Bubble Boy grossed over $5,000,000 at the box office. Although the movie depicted a fantastical approach to the concept with a man essentially living out his entire life within the confines of a rubber sphere, people can now live out this dream in real life by way of zorbing!
However, people are often confused about the relationship between the three most common types of zorbing and conflate them all as the same thing. Although water balls, bubble footballs, and zorb balls share some common ground, they are not all one and the same. This brief article will review the salient details of each variety through a compare and contrast analysis.
Due to the fact that all three zorbing variants feature a lot of the same characteristics, it’s best to start by disseminating the commonalities before addressing the distinct differences.
First of all, it’s important to note that the essence of amusement is not the exclusive domain of any single age group and the zorbing community embraces this concept to its fullest extent. Thus, all variants are suitable for both adults and children alike.
Secondly, each zorbing ball is made from some type of durable and flexible plastic. Thermoplastic elastomer urethane (TPU) and polymerizing vinyl chloride (PVC) are the most commonly used compounds during the manufacturing process as they feature superior bendability, stability, and resilience, not to mention the fact that they are resistant to shock and abrasion.
Thirdly, each one of the three variants is fully customizable. From the color and size to any printed logos and graphics, you have the ability to create a personalized zorbing ball based on your specific desires.
Lastly, but probably most importantly, these zorbing balls represent the perfect way to bring friends and family together regardless of where you happen to live. From backyard barbeques and graduation parties to birthday celebrations and team-building exercises, you can never go wrong with throwing a zorbing activity into the mix!
Now that the similarities have been identified, we can take a look at the prominent differences.
Zorbing is the recreational sport of rolling down a hill in a large secured zorb ball. The activity is usually performed on a gentle slope but it can also be facilitated on level land as well.
The zorb ball is actually comprised of two separate balls with a shock-absorbing channel of air between the layers. The outer shell is usually nine to ten feet in diameter whereas the inner ball features smaller dimensions, ranging from five to six feet across depending on the specific model. The rider is essentially strapped into a seven-point harness within the inner ball, effectively securing the shoulders, arms, and legs in a comfortable position, before rolling down the hill with some help from gravity. Although you can go zorbing in private, most people prefer to visit popular zorbing sites that feature dedicated tracks such as Roundtop Mountain Resort or Amesbury Sports Park.
A water ball, which is also referred to as a water-walking ball, allows the occupant to quite literally walk across water. To the untrained eye, a water ball looks exactly like a zorb ball but it’s important to note that they are, in fact, quite different. Contrary to the makeup of a zorb ball, a water-walking ball features only one layer and it is designed for water travel as opposed to rolling downhill. This giant ball is usually several feet in diameter and has a zipper-sealed entrance that permits simple entry and exit. Due to the fact that the occupant’s movements are the source of propulsion, there are no safety harnesses or grips inside most water-walking balls. More often than not, water balls are actually used as a form of exercise in swimming pools and marinas due to their low-impact nature.
The aforementioned zorb ball is rather large and encases the rider’s entire body whereas a bubble football orb, on the other hand, only covers the upper body, leaving the wearer’s legs free to move about as normal. This freedom of movement is crucial in the sport of bubble football, which features a lot of bumping, bouncing, and falling down. Before the game starts, one player from each team is selected to be the “human football.” Then, each team battles to push their own human football into the other team’s end zone while at the same time defending against the other team’s human football. This exhilarating sport is becoming increasingly popular in summer camps, schools, and community centers, not to mention our very own backyards!
Now that you know a bit more about each zorbing variant, you can create fun summer plans for everyone to enjoy. Just remember: a zorb ball is made to roll downhill; a water ball allows you to walk on water; and a bubble football orb encourages people to bump into one another whilst running around.
Now you’re a zorbing aficionado so get started on some party plans!